A new study has found that higher rates of subclinical cardiovascular disease among people with HIV are driven more by traditional risk factors that affect the general population than by HIV-related factors, aidsmap reports. Published in the online edition of the journal AIDS, the paper examined 331 participants who did not have advanced HIV disease and were about to begin antiretroviral treatment. Researchers monitored the participants with ultrasounds of their carotid artery intimamedia thickness (CIMT) and flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) in their brachial artery.

The cohort was 89 percent male, 44 percent white and had a median age of 36 years.  About a quarter of participants had received an AIDS diagnosis. Their median CD4 count was 349 and their median viral load about 32,000.

The researchers found that indicators of cardiovascular disease risk were more strongly associated with aging, body size and lipoprotein levels rather than CD4 count, viral load, inflammatory markers and cytokines. They wrote that their findings should encourage people with HIV to make healthy lifestyle choices involving diet, regular exercise and quitting smoking, all of which can lower their risk of cardiovascular disease.

To read the aidsmap report, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.